Richard Sherman is gone because John Schneider has drafted poorly and paid too many guys, not because Sherman can’t play anymore.
That’s what the All-Pro cornerback told Gee Scott of KIRO FM — and not many people are going to disagree.
Sherman also said his relationship with Schneider and Pete Carroll was still very good and he considered Seattle an “option” even as he looks to find a contender that will pay him more than Seattle wanted to.
“If it comes together where I get a chance to come back to Seattle and we can make a deal where I come back, then outstanding,” he said, while also pointing out, “My performance hasn’t declined. … My play was at a high level before I got injured and it will be at a high level once I come back.”
The biggest takeaway from Sherman’s KIRO interview, though, was his response when asked how he and Seattle’s brass got to the point of no return: “A bit of mismanagement. Drafting not as great as it was in the first couple years. Guys getting paid.”
Few would argue.
Schneider struck gold on Days 2 and 3 in his 2011-12 drafts, which were among the best in 20 years, but he has not done nearly as well the past five years. Only five of his 16 Day 2 picks have become starters, and he has gone from being the NFL’s best Day 3 drafter from 2010 to 2012 to the worst since 2013 (per PFR’s AV ratings).
Less than 25 percent of Seattle’s Day 3 picks since 2013 are still on the team — and almost all of them are from 2017. Schneider has blamed it on a higher competition level making it hard for rookies to make the team — but Green Bay, Atlanta, Carolina and New England all rank in the top six for Day 3 drafting despite equally strong rosters.
At the Combine, Schneider acknowledged it was time for young players to prove their worth. He specifically called out C.J. Prosise (third-rounder in 2016) and 2017 DBs Delano Hill, Tedric Thompson and Mike Tyson. Ethan Pocic, Nick Vannett and Amara Darboh all need to challenge hard for starting spots, too.
As for the “guys getting paid” comment, Sherman has another point. Michael Bennett was paid an extra $8 million just to play the final year of his last contract — he will start the extension with Philadelphia. And Kam Chancellor is not expected to play a down of the deal he signed last August, either — the Seahawks instead apparently stuck with $12 million in injury guarantees this year and next.
Schneider clearly agreed with Sherman that it was time to stop paying the aging core of the best defense since the NFL merger — Sherman, Bennett and Jeremy Lane are gone, and Cliff Avril is expected to join them.
Now Schneider needs to put together a couple of drafts like the ones that netted Sherman, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and company.
And Sherman needs to find a team that is willing to pay a corner who still has plenty in the tank.